Opp stages walkout as Punjab govt presents more ordinances


–PML-N MPA Samiullah Khan demands withdrawal of ordinances to create room for legislation

–Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat says govt did not violate the Constitution by approving ordinances

LAHORE: The provincial opposition on Monday recorded its protest in the Punjab Assembly against the practice of running the affairs of the government through ordinances instead of proper legislation.

During Monday’s session, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MPA Samiullah Khan raised the issue in the House and asked the provincial government to withdraw the approved ordinances in order to create space for debate and deliberations for further legislation.

Speaking on the point of order, Khan said that the government’s decision of running the affairs of the province was unprecedented in the parliamentary history of Punjab. “The government has set a bad example as the House has the extension of five ordinances on the agenda today while three new ordinances are also in the government business,” he said.

The government sought an extension of 90 days in five ordinances: The Rawalpindi Women University, Rawalpindi Ordinance 2019 (IX of 2019), The University of Mianwali Ordinance 2019 (X of 2019), The Punjab Public Private Partnership Ordinance 2019 (XI of 2019), The Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Ordinance 2019 (XII of 2019) and The Punjab Probation and Parole Service Ordinance 2019 (XIII of 2019). The government also had three new ordinances: The Punjab Agricultural Marketing Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Ordinance 2019, The Punjab Local Government (Amendment) Ordinance 2019 and The Punjab Village Panchayats and Neighbourhood Councils (Amendment) Ordinance 2019 on Monday in its agenda.

As Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari approved the ordinances, the opposition raised slogans against the government and asked the government to “close down the factory of ordinances”.

Criticising the government, Khan said that the most experienced and competent minister of the provincial government, Law Minister Raja Basharat, was running the affairs of the province through ordinances. He said that for the first time in the history of the House, the number of pending bills had crossed the number of passed bills as there were 20 pending bills while only 18 had been passed.

Later, the opposition staged a walkout to protest against the ordinances and the government continued legislating in its absence.

Speaking on the floor of the House, the law minister said that the government was not violating the Constitution by approving ordinances.

Earlier, Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz also came to the House after a gap of five months after his production orders were issued by Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. PML-N lawmakers accorded a warm welcome to their leader by thumping their desks and raising slogans. It is worth mentioning here that prior to the issuance of Hamza’s production orders, 100 MPAs had resigned from the standing committees of the House.

The session was later adjourned by the deputy speaker and will meet again on Tuesday afternoon at 3pm.